PORTLAND – A nor’easter brought heavy rain and strong winds to southern Maine on Friday and may even leave a dash of snow in the mountains.

At its height, the storm knocked out power to more than 20,000 Central Maine Power Co. customers, mostly in Cumberland, Knox and Lincoln counties.

“If it had moved a degree or two inland, it would have been much worse, which we prepared for,” said Robert Bohlmann, director of the York County Emergency Management Agency.

Power outages and minor street flooding, caused by fallen leaves that covered up storm drains, were the main effects of the storm, according to Bohlmann and Jim Budway, his counterpart in Cumberland County.

The wind tossed garbage cans into streets, tore into campaign signs and turned umbrellas inside-out. But Budway said the gusts did not compare to the 97-mph burst that was measured in Cape Elizabeth last winter.

“That’s really concerning. Thirty-five mile-per-hour winds along the coast — I think that we see pretty frequently,” he said.

CMP crews reported gusts of 40 and 50 mph, and Portland recorded a gust of 48 mph.

“The bull’s-eye was York and Cumberland counties, which got 2.5 to 3.5 inches of rain,” said Eric Sinsabaugh, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Gray.

Classes at Biddeford High School were called off after water was found in the first level of the school, seeping through the ceiling of a locker room and industrial arts area below.

The water was a concern because of electrical equipment in the sublevel, said Deputy Fire Chief Paul LaBrecque.

The water entered the school through temporary walls that were set up between the building and a construction area, he said.

“It wasn’t actually inches of water, just enough to cause a problem,” he said.

A power outage in Cumberland prompted the cancellation of classes at Greely High School. Students were dismissed at 11:45 a.m.

A number of high school sports events scheduled for Friday were pushed back because of the weather.

Downed lines caused Bowdoin College to lose power. While most parts of the campus were affected at some point during the day, classes took place as usual.

One visiting speaker delivered her talk without the benefit of lights, according to Doug Boxer-Cook, a college spokesman. Power was restored to all parts of the campus by 3 p.m.

The U.S. Coast Guard answered more than a dozen calls reporting boats taking on water, breaking loose from their moorings or crashing into rocks, said Chief Tim Steele of the South Portland station.

No one was aboard any of the boats, so no injuries resulted, he said.

There was a chance the storm would generate a few snow showers in the state’s mountains, as it did on Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, said Jim Brown of the weather service.

As the storm moves out, the state will experience drier but much colder air today with winds from the northwest, Brown said.

Sunday will be quieter, with sunny skies and lighter winds, he said.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: [email protected]